OER Digest – January 13th, 2017

From Katie Steen and Ethan Senack (US PIRG) | Volume 22 | January 13th, 2017

With help from Brady Yano (SPARC)


Your bi-weekly newsletter for open education updates, opportunities, and reminders

BC OPEN TEXT HITS 3: The BCcampus Open Textbook Project has saved students at British Columbia post-secondary institutions $3 million. In total, 25,571 BC students have been impacted by the project. Congratulations to the team at BCcampus! Read more>>

CENGAGE LAUNCHES MINDTAP ACE: Yesterday Cengage launched MindTap ACE, a digital solution that blends curated Open Educational Resources (OER) with Cengage content. MindTap ACE is aiming to address the student learning outcomes and affordability challenges by including OER alongside Cengage’s best-in-class content. MindTap ACE is now available as a pilot program for Introduction to Psychology, Introduction to Computing, World History I, Public Speaking and Non-Majors Biology. The product’s pricing starts at $40. Read more>>

HIGH PROFILE BOARD ADDITIONS: The Institute for the Study of Knowledge Management in Education (ISKME) announced the appointment of two Silicon Valley executives, Alex Fielding and Jason Goecke, to its board of directors. “As open educational resources begin to make significant inroads into K-12 and higher education classrooms, ISKME has brought on key leaders to our board who have made a difference in shaping and sharing quality online products and services,” said ISKME founder and CEO Lisa Petrides. Alex Fielding is CEO of Ripcord, a high-tech startup funded by Kleiner Perkins, Lux, and Lenovo and Jason Goecke is a Vice President and General Manager at Cisco responsible for Spark Call, Hybrid Calling Services, Tropo, and Spark for Developers. Read more>>

GVSU PROFESSOR RECOGNIZED: Grand Valley State University (GVSU) mathematics professor Ted Sundstrom is to receive the inaugural Daniel Solow Author’s Award from the Mathematical Association of America, in recognition of Mathematical Reasoning: Writing and Proof, an OER published through the institution’s ScholarWorks@GVSU repository platform. The award celebrates authors whose materials have had a positive impact on undergraduate mathematics education. Dr. Sundstrom’s textbook has been formally adopted at 47 universities, while the digital editions in ScholarWorks were downloaded more than 22,000 times in 2016 alone! Read more>>


A special section featuring OER insiders’ thoughts on the biggest changes, developments, and opportunities expected in 2017

Reg Leichty, Foresight Law + Policy: The coming year may be consequential for public education generally and for open educational resources champions specifically. As education policy decision-making shifts increasingly to states and school districts – both as a result of passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and the transition to nearly complete Republican control of federal policy levers – the open educational resources community must act strategically to build on existing OER-friendly federal policies and state and district trends. [Read the full comment here.]

Layla Bonnot, CCSSO: In 2017, CCSSO will continue to support #GoOpen states in meeting their commitments and will continue to support all states interested in the adoption and implementation of OER. I personally predict additional interest from states beyond the current cohort of 19 states and CCSSO is working on improving the search and discovery of resources via common metadata tagging and support for the Learning Registry. In 2017, I also predict greater coordination between states and districts around OER. [Read the full comment here.]

Marilyn Moody, Portland State University: I anticipate a dramatic increase in the creation, adoption, and use of open textbooks and other OER as course materials at the university level. Open textbooks and course materials have been promoted and used in individual institutions and higher education systems, but not in a ubiquitous way. In 2017, I see the use of open textbooks and course materials becoming a common and standard approach for universities, particularly public universities. Open textbooks and other open course materials will increasingly be used to support institutional goals and strategic initiatives, especially in support of student success and student retention. And their use will also be recognized as an important way to reduce student costs and increase educational affordability. [Read the full comment here.]

Rory McGreal, Athabasca University: Issues around Digital Rights Management (DRM) or digital locks will become increasingly apparent this year as people become more aware of the serious consequences of allowing companies to control their devices and other products. Customers no longer own and control their purchases, because their computers and other devices are now being supervised and limited by the software vendors. For educators, with the growing acceptance of E-textbooks, this has become problematic as the students and teachers who use them are having their devices shackled by DRM. [Read the full comment here.]

Jane Rosecrans, Reynolds Community College: Reynolds Community College was the recipient of two Virginia Community College System OER grants between 2014-2016, so the biggest challenge for our college specifically is looking for ways to continue to develop OER sections of courses and train faculty to teach these sections without the incentive of grant money that has underwritten this development in the past. In doing so, we need to revise our approach to OER training, which has been patterned after faculty training for online teaching and normally requires a multi-week training course. [Read the full comment here.]

Preston Davis, Northern Virginia Community College: Higher education is facing a period of transformation that has the potential to be unlike anything experienced in the modern era. The long held belief that college is a privilege is being questioned by a generation of young adults seeking the opportunities of previous generations. The assertion that a college education is a right, and as such should be made available and affordable to all citizens, has certainly benefitted from the open movement. [Read the full comment here.]

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Conferences, jobs, and other OER-related opportunities

EVENT: BCcampus is hosting a one-hour Pressbooks Training Webinar on January 24 ow.ly/x13s307lkju

EVENT: BCcampus is hosting the 2017 Open Textbook Summit May 24-25 in Vancouver, B.C. The call for proposals close January 20th. https://open.bccampus.ca/open-textbook-summit-2017-call-for-proposals/

EVENT: The Creative Commons Global Summit will be taking place April 28-30. The call for submissions close January 27. https://docs.google.com/a/sparcopen.org/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSezm8y2pheNlsP4Tserougy8ht1PITIyvT3GTBUJzDCb1ansg/viewform

JOB: Peer 2 Peer University (P2PU) is looking for a North America-based Program Coordinator https://www.p2pu.org/en/jobs/

JOB: The University of Minnesota is looking for a Scholarly Communication Librarian & Research Services Coordinator https://www.myu.umn.edu/psp/psprd/EMPLOYEE/HRMS/c/HRS_HRAM.HRS_APP_SCHJOB.GBL?Page=HRS_APP_JBPST&Action=U&SiteId=1&FOCUS=Applicant&JobOpeningId=315002&PostingSeq=1

JOB: BCcampus is looking for a new full-time Web Developer https://bccampus.ca/web-developer-posting/

OPPORTUNITY: The Rebus Community is working to build an open and collaborative model for making open textbooks. They are seeking contributors for seven active open textbook projects. https://forum.rebus.community/category/5/projects-active-open-textbook-projects


A brief snapshot of those making change on the ground level, and those most impacted

FROM BRITISH COLUMBIA: “We’re trying to raise awareness of the malpractice of how [textbook] publishers stifle competition to protect profits, forcing students to lose tons of money from an unnecessary update,” Nicholson said. At the same time, UVSS is touting the financial benefits and the altruistic teaching-learning concept of OER (by making people aware of sites such as BC Open Campus (open.bccampus.ca). The UVSS projects that open textbooks will save UVic students $100,000 in 2017. Read more>>

FROM BRITISH COLUMBIA x2: Ryan McAllister, a second-year environmental studies student at the college, has already felt the positive impacts from using open textbooks in four of his courses. “The biggest perk of open textbooks are the cost-savings. Saving money as a student will always come first,” he said. Okanagan College ranked third in open textbook adoptions out of 31 participating post-secondary institutions in BCcampus’s 2015/16 annual review of its Open Textbook Project. Read more>>    


Matt Salomone (@matthematician)

Or do what half my academic Twitter feed is doing: Go Open. #OER @actualham @Dan_Blick twitter.com/raulpacheco/st…


Interesting Reads on Education and Open

5 questions to answer about OER use | eSchool News


Counting Down EdSurge’s Top Ten S’Cool Tools of 2016 | EdSurge


District leaders offer tips for embracing OER | Education Dive


Is a Creative Commons-Non Commercial License killing your project? | Bold&Open


Online Learning and Training Trends for 2017 | EduMine


K-12 districts expand ‘digital first’ initiatives, skip textbooks | Education Dive


Have suggestions for the next edition?

Let us know at oerdigest@gmail.com, or tweet us @OERdigest.

You can subscribe to the OER Digest here.

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